Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Does pitching to contact work?

Yes, pitching to contact can work if you have solid fielders.

The idea is for pitchers throwing strikes, with the intention of letting the fielders make the outs. The strategy is to get outs quickly with a low pitch count, so the pitcher can go deeper into the game.

For the pitcher to be successful it's important to command the fastball, throw first-pitch strikes, change speeds and locations. 


All-American pitcher Tyler Davis throws strikes and pitches to contact for the University of Washington. In a game facing top-ten ASU, Davis pitched a complete game, throwing 70% strikes and tallying an 11:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He pitched inside, changed speeds and moved the ball around the strike zone using a 2-seamer, nasty change-up and occasional curveball. The ASU hitters had a .303 BA going into the series.

"Davis (5-4) had pinpoint control for most of the night. He gave up seven hits and walked just one batter and threw 112 pitches, 79 strikes." Read more

RHP Tyler Davis Bio and Stats

A big right-hander uses pitching to contact in college ...

Ryan Perez cleared to throw from both sides for Judson
Gene Chamberlain, Elgin Courier-News
2:09 pm, April 9, 2015

Ambidextrous pitcher Ryan Perez is closer to pitching full time again for Judson University — with both arms. ....

Without Perez starting, the duty of carrying the team's pitching ace has fallen on the shoulders of former Glenbard North pitcher Bergmann from Hanover Park. The big right-hander has been more than up to the challenge. He has an 8-0 record and a 1.12 ERA in nine appearances with seven starts.

"He's been a stable force for us for four years and a real stopper this year," Benjamin said of Bergmann. "It seems as though he's been able to get a strike whenever he wants it. He has good command of all his pitches. He mixes it up well."

Bergmann's control has been flawless. He has a walks/hits to innings pitched ratio of 1.00.

"I try to pitch to contact, throw first-pitch strikes," Bergmann said earlier in the season. "I think I've become better getting ahead on the first pitch."

In 56 innings, Bergmann has walked only 11.

"He controls the running game and fields his position well," Benjamin said. "He does all the little things you need to do to be successful as a pitcher."

Read more

High School

Pitching to contact can work with solid fielding ...

Ambidextrous pitcher Henry Knight averages 11 pitches per inning using the strategy of throwing first-pitch strikes and pitching to weak contact.

Knight once threw 11 innings – using 61 pitches lefty and 62 pitches righty – in a hot summer game. The center fielder caught a dozen fly balls without an error.

Pitching to contact sometimes fails in high school baseball ...

A high school team with inexperienced fielders can have trouble tracking easy fly balls or grounders. Even good fielders can boot the ball around if they aren't focused on making the play.

Different playing surfaces can also cause problems - dirt fields with rocks, wet grass or turf.

If a recent game, fielders were not allowed to wear metal spikes on a turf/grass field, so they wore tennis shoes without traction - playing a very wet surface. Half a dozen slips and falls led to lots of errors. The pitching was solid, but fielders were tentative to make the routine plays.

Science behind pitching to contact | Star Tribune

For those desiring a precise definition of pitch to contact, start with this: a pitcher who is trying to get hitters to put the ball in play, preferably on the ground, within three pitches. That inherently means the pitcher isn't thinking strikeout, but rather making his best pitch in a hittable zone.

The emphasis on pitching to contact is inherently linked to the emphasis on pitch counts in the past two decades. The idea of getting a hitter to put the ball in play within three pitches is intended to give a starting pitcher the chance to pitch deep into a game.

Rick Anderson and pitching to contact – The Hardball Times

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